Playing against the Richter Rauzer.

Jan 6, 2018, 8:48 AM |

Richter Rauzer is the most critical and the most theoretical line in Classical Sicilian.

There are 2 ways to play against it :The hard way and the easy way.

The hard way is to read the main line and memorise all lines and sublines(and they are a lot).

The easy way is to find a system that is good with not much theory.

The best way to get out of the main lines is an early ...h6.It has been used by several good players , one of them was the world champion Mikhail Botvinnik.

      The advantage of this line is that it forces white to exchange(8.Bxf6) since neither of the alternatives is satisfying.

The disadvantage of 7...h6 is that after the practically forced 8.Bxf6 Black is forced to play  8...gxf6  compromising his pawn structure , since 8...Qxf6 simply loses a pawn.

So after the also practically forced 8...gxf6 we have the critical position of the line.

Black has several adcantages that compensate for his compromised pawn structure.First the bishop pair that might prove especially dangerous.Second , the half open g-file that almost always prove useful and third the easy development and the plenty of plans to choose from.White has his usual Sicilian spatial advantage and the better pawn structure plus the chances for an attack on the Black king.The last one might be Black's first critical decision.What will he do with his king?Short castling is out of the question and long castling is somewhat unnatural since Black's counterplay is on q-side.

     Maybe the most important in this line is that Black's play is logical.He wants to play ...h5 to open the ...Bh6 option , ...Rg8 to pressure on g-file and ...a6-b5 are the typical q-side attack moves.In this case the king is  often relatively safe on f8.Alternatively instead of the q-side attack he might play Qb6-Bd7 and castle long.

     Let's see some games from the greatest expert of all times in this line.

Botvinnik didn't hesitate to play the line in the 1951 world championship match against Bronstein.

Another great player that used the line regularly was world champion Tigran Petrosian.

    Overall it's a line that leads to interesting play and saves you the headache of memorising thousand of lines.